LEED and ENERGY STAR® Certification Changes and Important Timelines

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ENERGY STAR® Score changes are coming. How does this affect your Energy Star and/or LEED certifications?

As early as May 2014 Energy Star has been planning for the updates to the 1 to 100 ENERGY STAR® score using data from the 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS).  With the release of the CBECS data in May of 2016, the EPA began detailed analysis and will program new scores into Portfolio Manager with a tentative release date in early 2018.

What’s changed?
ENERGY STAR® confirms that the EPA’s basic approach is not changing and the benchmarking at the national level that users are accustomed to remains available and continues as an effective tool.

Changes that should be expected are the median energy use across every type of property which impacts the 1 to 100 ENERGY STAR® score.  To account for the adjustment to methodology the new calculations, which applies to the baseline year and all other years entered for the property in Portfolio Manager, allowing your team to recognize the results on efficiency directly attributable to your improvements in equipment and operations.

Learn More:
May 2016: Update on CBECS Data and ENERGY STAR Score Development Process (PDF, 339 KB)

Listen to the recorded webinar here.

Take Action:
KCI supports ENERGY STAR® recommendations:

Continue benchmarking your property
If you are not benchmarking, KCI can start a Portfolio Manager account, instruct on entering historical bills, and explain the baseline data.

Pursue certification
KCI can assist in determining eligibility and selecting the certification period. KCI can conduct the required site visit and one of their Licensed Professionals can validate the application information for submission.

2016 certifications are underway now. To avoid the end of year rush, on August 31st ENERGY STAR® applications can be accepted on all remaining 2016 projects. (Used for any 2017 LEED O+M: EB projects … check your dates.)

2017 certifications do not have to wait until the last half of the year.  (Used for any 2018 LEED O+M:  EB projects … check your dates.) 

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

The adoption by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) of LEED v4 has been widely communicated.  Called “bolder, more specialized, and designed for a better user experience”, the transition to v4 means that registration under the previous v2009 is closing.  Between now and October 31, 2016 projects have the option to choose between v2009 and v4 as their rating system.  Beginning November 1st all projects will transition to v4 and will need to comply with those credit requirements.

What’s changed?
LEED continues to push the goals of green buildings higher as the attention to sustainable efforts increases.  This means that thresholds in EA, WE, IEQ categories of prior versions also require higher levels of attainment to earn the same number of credits.  Topics such as the life cycle assessment of materials and integrative design processes are drawing more attention and earning credits.

Most notably, rating systems are now available for Data Centers, Hospitality, and Warehouses and Distribution Centers in the BD+C and O+M categories.  Other shifts have been made to compose the 5 categories of rating systems each with variations to better reflect the variety of markets and building life phases.

Just one example of a specific change … Under LEED O+M: Existing Buildings an ENERGY STAR® label earned within the 12 months preceding the project submission date can be used for EA Prerequisite 2 documenting the projects Minimum Energy Efficiency Performance.  While the use of this form of documentation has not changed the minimum threshold has shifted higher.   The v2009 prerequisite minimum of 69 has increased in v4 to 75.

The points for performance ratings for EAc1 are also shifting under LEED O+M: Existing Buildings.  Under v2009, to earn 3 credits a score of 74 is needed with a max of 18 points for a score of 95.  Under v4, to earn 3 credits a score of 76 is needed with a max of 20 points for a score of 95.

Project teams would be well advised to review credits, performance periods, and documentation requirements to make informed decisions early in their performance period.  Is the project team collecting the right documentation?  What is the timing of the collection cycles?

Take Action:
KCI recommends:

Obtain a 2016 & 2017 Energy Star Certification
Strategically select the date of Energy Star Certification to capitalize on potential credits earned.

Consider registering for v2009 by October 31st
For new projects and projects recertifying before June 30, 2017, v2009 may be the right choice. Get specifics.

Perform a Readiness Audit to transition to v4
All v2009 projects need to know the new requirements. Waiting until the certification project begins is too late to determine what credits to pursue. Know the requirements early in the process and strategically pursue the level of certification desired.

Perform a Prerequisite Analysis for new project registrations
KCI can conduct an audit to determine if prerequisites have been met for any new project applications. An analysis of the v4 credits should be undertaken to gain project specific details and provide information about data collection for targeted credits.

October 31, 2016 – last date to register a v2009 project.

Projects certified or recertified in 2015/2016/2017 – perform a v4 Readiness Audit to ensure effective transition to the new rating system.